October 29th/30th/31st 1973

• “half-term – OFF TO LONDON TO GET HI-FI (I hope)”
• “Got a crappy amp – Dad has to take it back”
• “Got a new amp – Sounds BRILLIANT!”

October 29th’s entry was written in advance.

I remember some of this story. Dad & I drove to some non-descript warehouse on an industrial estate somewhere near the Wembley area of London. I have no doubt that this place was chosen from an ad placed in one of the many hi-fi mags I had been reading.

For all I know now, it may well as have been “Dodgy Dave’s Stereo Emporium”, the stock having fallen off the back of a lorry somewhere.

I bought – under Dad’s watchful eye but with my OWN money (hence the £35 withdrawal from savings) – The Alba HOUS208 Amplifier mentioned a few diary entries ago, the much-coveted Garrard SP25 Mk II Record Deck (with a similarly-prized Goldring G800 cartridge) and a pair of Wharfedale Denton speakers.

There is no reference to the Alba amp anywhere online (at least that I can find), but here’s a pic of the record deck

and here’s one of the shelf speakers…

I was so VERY excited this day, I can remember that.

However, when we got back home and I unpacked everything, my excitement turned to frustration as the discovery was made that the amp I’d bought was a duffer. I remember my Dad & I tried everything we could to try and make it work, but all to no avail.

The next day my Dad, bless him, used a free British Rail pass and traveled back up to – and across – London with this amp tucked awkwardly under his arm, found the warehouse and was able to quite easily swap the unit over. He then had to travel back on the tube to Waterloo, back down to Eastleigh… obviously hoping all the time that the replacement was not in the same faulty condition. A journey that took him the best part of a full day.

Frustration was then replaced by joy and relief when the new amp performed flawlessly under – what was doubtless – ‘rigourous testing’ using sundry ELP, Deep Purple and Hawkwind albums.

My first proper stereo!!!



Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

4 responses to “October 29th/30th/31st 1973

  1. lando

    this post makes me smile from ear to ear!

  2. jonesxxx

    The Garard SP25 Mk II !! It was a legend. I went for the Goldring G101. I loved it. Simple but excellent. I wish I still had it.

    My first pair of speakers were tiny Sony SS70s.
    I changed them for a pair of Yamahas around 1976 I guess and I still have them today. Your site has just inspired me to play a bit of Trilogy.

  3. gert-jan

    hey i,m a 53 year old guy from holland my first true stereo set was the same garrard turntable (shure mk 11 element) ? and the same wharfdale denton xp 2 speakers and a panasonic amplifier 20 watt
    although my current hifi set is not that bad denon sacd/dvd player wharfdale diamond floor speakers sony stereo amplifier audiolab speaker cable and profigold interlinks with a x-10d (musical fidelity) unit connected between player and anplifier, i,ll always say boy it sounded that good back in the 70,s until mid 80,s!
    ps i still believe in wharfdale denton 2 xp
    gretting gert-jan wassink

  4. What a wonderfully nostalgic post. I wish that in these days of ipods holding 1000s of musical tracks and digital downloads obtainable at a moment’s notice, that “hi-fi” was as simple and sounded as good as in those days. My own set up back then comprised a Leak amp, a pair of Sykes and Hirsch speakers and of course the omnipresent Garrard SP25 turntable…

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